This bridge is an impressive two-span through truss. With a 1907 construction date, it is the oldest rivet-connected Parker through truss bridge in New Hampshire. The bridge retains good historic integrity. The bridge's pipe railing is not original, but was in place by 1940. The original railing was wooden planks. The bridge also has an extremely unusual flooring system, which is part of the original design. Typically, a series of closely spaced longitudinal deck stringers rest on the floorbeams, while a deck surface rests on the longitudinal stringers. On this bridge, there are instead three large longitudinal stringers, one at each side of the bridge, and one running down the center. Resting on these, are transverse deck stringers, which hold the wooden deck surface above. This design of deck is extremely unusual and should be considered a significant aspect of the bridge.
Despite the bridge's obvious historic significance, and despite that fact that the bridge is not in the way of anything (no replacement structure is planned for this location) the bridge is to be demolished. In other words, valuable taxpayer dollars will be expended for no other purpose than to reduce this beautiful historic bridge to a pile of scrap metal.
A detailed documentation of this bridge is available in a link above, and it discusses extensively the history and design of the bridge. However, it does contain some misleading statements about the condition of the bridge prior to the demolition project. It states that "A 2009 engineering study examined the condition of the trusses and the rehabilitation options and costs, concluding that removal was the only feasible option." This statement implies that the bridge was beyond repair, which is not correct. Additional news articles and discussion with the state Department of Transportation revealed that the official position was that the bridge was beyond repair. In particular, an engineer had stated that steel of this age could not be safely welded. However, this statement is completely false, and likely assisted in the pointless condemnation of this bridge to the scrap yard. Old steel, and even cast and wrought iron can be safely welded and indeed is frequently welded as part of routine restoration work. Anyone claiming otherwise lacks basic knowledge of metal truss bridge restoration technique. See the website www.historicbridgerestoration.com for details. Further discussion with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation revealed that finding money for restoration were also an issue, but if that was the case, the bridge could simply be left standing, or placed into storage until funds for restoration become available. HistoricBridges.org closely looked at the bridge in 2012, and found no deterioration that could not be addressed through typical restoration technique. Like many deteriorated truss bridges, deterioration was confined to isolated areas, such as the bottom chord and bottom chord connections. Also, the floorbeams were deteriorated, however floorbeams are often replaced during historic bridge rehabilitations.
UNITED CONSTRUCTION CO.
CONTRACTORS, ALBANY, N.Y.
AMERICAN BRIDGE CO. OF N.Y. BUILDERS.
FRANK L. GERRISH,
B. F. BUTLER, SELECTMEN
C. W. CARTER.
JOHN W. STORRS, CONSULTING ENGINEER.
TOWN OF CANTERBURY
LOWELL T. MASON
FRANK S. DAVIS
FRANK C. PLASTRIDGE
TOWN OF BOSCAWEN
FRANK L. GERRISH
BENJ. F. BUTLER
CHAS. W. CARTER
This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.
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